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Dreams Riviera Cancun - Brides post here (new thread)
Posted 21 December 2010 - 07:44 PM
Posted 21 December 2010 - 09:23 PM
DRC Wedding Review
Date: Sunday 12/12/10
Guests: 80 total (77 adults, 3 kids, 1 infant)
Ceremony: 4:15pm at the Gazebo
Cocktail hour: 5-6pm on pool deck next to Oceana
Reception: 6-11pm in El Patio
Travel to Mexico: We flew US Air on the way down. We had a connecting flight. Both planes were relatively small. I had my wedding dress with me and neither plane had room in first class for my dress. I just put it in the overhead bin on both flights (had to fold it a little) â€“ no one said anything and it was fine. They would have let us on the plane early (just talk to the folks at the gate), but we were in boarding group 2 on both flights, so it wasnâ€™t a problem in terms of space in the overheads.
Check-In: No problems. We asked for a room upgrade and the front desk staff wouldnâ€™t give us much of one. So we met with Ana (our new wedding coordinator) who arranged for a room upgrade to the Honeymoon Suite. It was awesome and all we needed. We saw the Master Suite when we went for a site visit in May â€“ itâ€™s huge and super nice, but we didnâ€™t want to pay extra and the Honeymoon Suite was also really nice and we had Ocean Front w/outdoor hot tub. Since we had over 45 rooms booked with our wedding group at the hotel, I think thatâ€™s why they upgraded us without too much hassle. Also â€“ it was â€˜lowâ€™ season and the hotel was only about 40% occupied. I think it really depends on occupancy and availability in terms of what they can offer.
Meeting w/wedding Coordinator: Our original wedding coordinator was Ana Maria Cruz. She left around September and we were assigned to Gaby. I sent Gaby several e-mails over the course of the past few months and only received responses one time at the beginning of November, then didnâ€™t hear from her until three days before we left for Mexico. When I heard from her it was to say that SHE was leaving and wouldnâ€™t be there for our wedding!!! I was a bit stressed, as you might imagine. We were informed that the new Ana would be doing our wedding. We had no idea what to expect once we got there. When we met with the new Ana, we were quite pleasantly surprised. Eventhough Gaby had not responded to most of my e-mails, Ana had a big file folder on our wedding with ALL of the e-mail communications I had with Gaby. Everything was documented. I was completely blown away and so happy that Gaby had documented everything, which she had reviewed with Ana before she left. My FI and I reviewed all the pricing, etc. and we made a few tweaks â€“ we had agreed on pricing with some of our vendors and there were a few discrepancies on the estimate. Ana was SUPER sweet. She did not argue with us at all and she simply revised the estimate. Ana is absolutely wonderful and she did everything possible to make us happy and make sure our day went as we wanted. All of the wedding coordinators seemed great. They all work really hard (they are there from 8:30am until about 8:30pm, like 7 days a week.). Itâ€™s actually totally ridiculous and I donâ€™t blame them for quitting. They get hundreds of e-mails a day and they need to deal with brides who are onsite, etc. The resort really needs to figure out a way to make it so they arenâ€™t working so much â€“ it is definitely not sustainable. Please know â€“ they are trying really hard and doing all they can do to make the brides happy! One of the best things we did was that we hired travel agents (in the states). They were able to communicate directly with all of the wedding coordinators â€“ when I couldnâ€™t get answers/responses from them â€“ so at least we had some in-direct contact during the months that I wasnâ€™t getting any direct responses.
Rehearsal Dessert: We had a pretty large wedding group and we wanted to do something the night before the wedding, but we didnâ€™t want to pay for another dinner for everyone. We ended up doing a dessert with everyone after dinner. We paid extra for this ($20 per person) which included an ice cream buffet and open bar for 3 hours in one of the ballrooms. We also hired Ivan from DoreMixx to set up a screen and microphone for speeches, slideshow, and karaoke. It was a really fun night and everyone had a great time. The staff set up an amazing dessert buffet and there was tons of food.
We hired DecoCancun to help with decorations. Hereâ€™s another storyâ€¦..we had been working with Ana from DecoCancun since May and a week before we left for Mexico, I get an e-mail from her which said SHE quit and wouldnâ€™t be there for our wedding!!! We ended up having Karina â€“ who was great. Ana had gone over all the details with Karina before she left. We met with Karina a few days before the wedding to finalize everything. The decorations were great â€“ no complaints. Everything looked beautiful.
Ceremony: We made CDs with our pre-ceremony, ceremony, and recession music and we did the technician with speakers (for $180). I was nervous about this and sort-of anticipated disaster, but the technician played everything exactly as we wanted! I wrote out instructions on the back of the CD cases re: when to play which song. We also asked one of our guests to meet with the technician right before the ceremony to explain what we wanted.
Cocktail Hour: We had a Caribbean Trio (included 45-minute set with our Ultimate Wedding Package). To be honest, I didnâ€™t notice them much. We were a little late to our cocktail hour (we went back to our room for 20-minutes after the ceremony and my friend came up to bustle my dress, etc.). I think I was so excited and I just didnâ€™t notice the music during this time. Iâ€™m sure they were good.
Reception: We actually splurged a bit in this category, as music was important to us. We hired a Caribbean band to play two 45-minute sets and then we also hired Ivan from DoreMixx to DJ and MC the evening for 3 hours. Both worked out great. We had minimal to no contact with the band before we arrived (they spoke mostly Spanish and they were difficult to reach from the States â€“ but the original Ana and Gaby both â€˜confirmedâ€™ they would be there for our wedding). We re-confirmed this with the new Ana when we arrived. Ivan was also great. We met with him a few days before the wedding to review some details. We put some of the songs we really wanted played onto CDs and Ivan downloaded them onto his computer a few days before our wedding. He played most of the songs we wanted and he added some of his own. He also provided balloons and masks. Again â€“ the music was great and people were dancing for hours. At the last minute, we also decided to get/pay for his light-up dance floor (a little pricey â€“ at $600, but it was super fun and different and everyone loved it).
Photographer: We used the resort photographers (Adventure Photos) and Anel was great. No complaints. My husband unfortunately hates taking photos. So we got most of them out of the way before the ceremony. I really wanted some beach photos, so we did a 15-20 minute beach session in our bathing suits a few days after the wedding. Anel had our photos ready to view a few days after the wedding and we chose some pictures for a slideshow, which she sent to us via e-mail on Thursday and weâ€™ve been able to share that with our friends and family â€“ which has been really nice.
Videographer: We had him for the ceremony (included in our package) and we paid extra to have him stay for a few hours afterwards. He had our video completed and delivered to our room a few days after the wedding.
Food: We had the Mexican appetizers during cocktail hour, the Caribbean buffet during the reception, and the Tres Leches wedding cake. We arranged to do a â€˜tastingâ€™ of the reception food a few days before the wedding. We were all impressed with the food we tasted. On the wedding day, I thought the food was okay. It didnâ€™t taste as good to me â€“ probably because they had to make it for 80pp. However, the cake was amazing. I highly recommend the Tres Leches cake. We had several guests tell us it was the best wedding cake they ever had!
All-in-all it was a fabulous wedding. Everything didnâ€™t go exactly as we had planned, but we just â€˜went with the flowâ€™ and didnâ€™t make a big deal about little things on our wedding day. It was definitely frustrating trying to plan the wedding from the States and getting minimal responses and feedback from the resort along the way, but it all worked out in the end. I would recommend using Travel Agents to help communicate directly with the resort/wedding coordinators. They were a big help and it would have been way more stressful without their help. Also â€“ I recommend trying to stay as relaxed as possible. Thereâ€™s only so much planning you can do. Be assured the resort staff (wedding coordinators, banquet staff, etc) will do everything they can for you and they work really hard. Ana (wedding coordinator) was awesome!! Many of our guests said they wished they had done destination weddings and that it was the best wedding theyâ€™d ever been to. Everyone is still talking about it and of course the pictures are flying on Facebook.
Let me know if I can answer any other questions. Itâ€™s best to send me a personal message â€“ Iâ€™m not checking this site as frequently anymore. Good Luck with your planning. (I posted our slideshow in an earlier message on this forum if you want to see some pictures, but here it is again in case you missed it:
Posted 21 December 2010 - 09:26 PM
I had my hair and make-up done at the Spa and I was happy with the results. You need to make appointments before you head down there for your wedding. The Spa folks were very responsive over e-mail and I didn't have any problems setting up appointments a few weeks ahead of time.
Posted 21 December 2010 - 09:30 PM
Thanks for the great review, Allegra! Sounds like a blast!
Posted 22 December 2010 - 02:31 AM
Only got home today but thought would write a review while it's all still fresh in my head, firstly here's a link to our photos:
Arrival: our travel agent had requested us all on high floors in the same block. We were a party of 27 and spread all over the hotel, my husband's aunt and uncle were given a more upgraded room than us on check in which I thought was a little odd but we did receive a free upgrade to an ocean view room with a jacuzzi balcony which was lovely (2449). Check in took ages seeing as we were told all of our rooms were pre allocated.
Wedding: We had 3 wedding planners prior to arriving, Ana then Gabriella then Lisbeth. It was a bit unsettling and replies to emails were few and far between. We were wrongly advised by our travel agent that we didn't need to pre book anything and that the resort tried to avoid more than one wedding a day. We found out about a week before we left that there was another wedding the same day and they had prebooked the deck. I wasn't happy at all but they did compensate us by giving our extra 7 guests complimentary wine, cake and appetisers which I think should have been $26 a head. We were offered the jacuzzi area, japanese garden or the grass area in front of some rooms (!), I didn't really like any of these but they agreed to let us have the seaside grill at no extra cost.
On the day: Our planner forgot to make our spa appointments despite me emailing her prior to our arrival to confirm 6 guests for hair and makeup. Lisbeth told us she would book for me and the bridesmaids but the rest of the guests would have to book themselves. I told everyone the next day we were booked in for 1pm for our wedding at 4pm. When I went to the spa the day before our wedding our guests had been booked in at 1pm but the planner hadn't tried to book our appointments early enough and there was no space left to fit us in too. They booked us at 12 and I had to ask family members to switch so we weren't ready too early. My bridesmaids also ended up having to do their own makeup because of lack of appointments. I'd recommend going into the spa yourself to make your appointments. I was very pleased with my hair and makeup, we didn't get the right hair flowers but I preferred the ones that showed up anyway.
Flowers: They were beautiful. I did go to check on them in the morning though and the buttonieres were wrong, they did rectify this at no extra charge and got new ones in time for the ceremony. I had the flowers in big conch shells for the table, they weren't the same as the photos they show you though, they're supposed to be in a kind of driftwood stand which they weren't. I loved my bouquet as well as the bridesmaids ones.
Ceremony: We had ours in the gazebo which I loved, it wasn't a scorching day and having it at 4 meant that the loungers around the pool were pretty empty anyway. The flowers on the gazebo although an extra cost were well worth it and really enhanced the photos. We had the mariachi trio for our ceremony and they played a bit before, as i walked up the aisle and afterwards, I loved having them there and in the photos which isn't usual for them as you usually have them during the cocktail hour.
Cocktail hour: We booked the desires terrace which would've been lovely but it was a bit windy so we moved inside. There was a mix up with our appetisers and by the time they'd got my list to confirm 2 of them were wrong (you get a choice of 5) and sent out the right ones my guests had already eaten. The sound system which costs $111 an hour to plug your i pod into didn't show up until 45 minutes into our cocktail hour by which point we'd convinced the staff to let us plug our i pod into the DJ system. I sent it back when it did arrive, and we didn't pay for it.
Reception: After our photos we walked to desires and were stopped on the way and told we could no longer have the seaside grill and it was too windy and might rain. We were told we were being moved to the ballroom which I refused as it's bland, lacks any atmosphere and would've been much too big for our party. They then asked what we'd like instead and when I asked for one of the indoor restaurants even if it meant just a corner to ourselves I was told this wasn't possible. Then 10 minutes later they changed their mind and put us in the italian which was closed that day so we had it all to ourselves. It's a lovely venue and I really appreciated them accomodating us. The food on the other hand was diabolical. We had the gold menu in with our ultimate package and chose mussels in cheese sauce, soup, crabcakes then lamb wellington or seabass. I don't know what went wrong on the day but everything was stone cold and the mains just weren't nice at all, barely anyone ate and it was quite embarassing. We did complain and were offered steak for everyone instead but by that point we just wanted to leave. They did refund us some of our money due to the food. I was suprised the food was bad because when we ate at the restaurants all of the food was lovely ...and hot! It wasn't just us being fussy either, everyone agreed it was the worst meal we had int he whole 2 weeks we were there. We were told the wedding chef is different to the regular chef.
Cake: We had the tres leche cake which is the traditional mexican cake and it was lovely, I'd highly recommend it. If you want to try it beforehand it's on the buffet in the world cafe
Photos: We had Daniel and he was great, the photos really cheered me up after as I really wasn't hapy with our reception. I wasn't expecting for them to be of the standard they were and I'd highly recommend adventure photography, They're very helpful and pleasant to deal with when you go to view and choose your photos too. I got 50 free photos with our package and ended up buying an extra 60 which cost $495 but I think was well worth it. The video was great too and I'm glad we got both.
This resort generally have at least 2 weddings a day which I did find quite suprising but I guess I should've looked into it more. On the day you really aren't too concerned that another wedding is happening. It does make it feel like a bit of a conveyor belt though and if we were doing it all over I'd consider a smaller more exclusive resort. We did try to accomodate all of our guests needs though which is how we ended up here. Overall it's a beautiful resort with great staff and a lovely beach, great for family holiday and nice and close to the airport. I'd recommend the trip to sian-khan, we got to see dolphins and turtles in their natural environment and more of the natural side of Mexico.
Posted 22 December 2010 - 08:49 AM
Thanks for the great review Donna and congrats! Your pictures are beautiful! Did you all go with the symbolic or legal ceremony?
Posted 22 December 2010 - 08:58 AM
For those of you that have gotten married at DRC, I need your advice on something. I'm trying to decide if we should have our cocktail party the night before the wedding, so that we can enjoy it with our guests, and it's a fun added activity on another day. Is there a bar on the beach that they'd be able to go to after the ceremony? I feel like we're at all all-inclusive resort, so it shouldn't be hard to find something to do while we are taking pictures, but I also don't want them to bored. What do you all think? Thanks so much!
Posted 22 December 2010 - 09:24 AM
Ladies..for thoses recently married here..wondering if you can tell all of girls if this happened on your trip--
I heard that you're only given one room key at DRC- which would be really inconvenient since me and FH will be coming and going at different times and such...
Let us know if you can! <3
leaving in 25 days!!
Posted 22 December 2010 - 10:48 AM
Ladies- When you get to the resort, and they want you to pay for the wedding, what is the best currency to use? Credit Card, Travelers checks...etc. It seems ridiculous to bring a lot of cash to Mexico. I have also heard that AAA has a travelers check CARD which you load... Has anyone ever used this?
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